As last year marked one of Carat* London’s best years to date, Professional Jeweller caught up with the brand’s chief executive officer, Scott Thompson, to find out what made 2016 such a success and his plans for further growth…
Professional Jeweller: How has Carat* London been evolving as a brand throughout the years?
ST: We started out as a high-end costume jewellery brand and were known for a lot of work in terms of superior stone cutting. We still stay true to that — using the best hand-cut and precious machine-cut stones in the market. In recent years as fashion has got faster and faster, jewellery is also moving at a rapid pace and we have found the need to increase the frequency of our collections. From doing one to two collections a year, now we are doing close to eight. Jewellery and fashion trends go hand in hand — they are getting faster and producing relevant product is getting more important.
PJ: What inspires Carat* London’s jewellery collections?
ST: We are inspired by music, art, fashion, film. We are constantly inspired by current and upcoming trends, it-girls, street style and the women who wear our jewellery.
PJ: What makes Carat* unique from other jewellery brands in the marketplace?
ST: With our new contemporary items, it’s obvious that we move very quickly on trends. We still use the precision and machine-cut trends that we used before, we are not compromising on the quality. You will learn this year that Carat* has a persona. If you look at our social media you will see that we have been developing this over the past few years.
PJ: What’s the secret to the brand’s success so far?
ST: Understanding the Carat* girl —whether she’s going to the office, going to a thing on a Saturday night with friends, getting married, or becoming a mum. Our success is knowing all the things that she wants throughout all the stages of her life.
PJ: What challenges have you had to overcome?
ST: You name it, we have been challenged by it: from financial crises to finding the right people to work with. One of the biggest challenges has been going from a small business to going to medium to a large-sized business. However so far it’s been good!
PJ: 2016 was reported as the brand’s best year to date despite challenging market conditions, what made last year so great and why do you think 2016 saw the brand thrive?
ST: We are getting our physical shops in order. We are delivering a lot more newness to the business on a regular basis, and I think we are more relevant with our customer now than we have ever been before.
PJ: What’s the focus for Carat* in the UK over the next 12 months?
ST: Working very hard on our communications strategy.
PJ: How does the UK perform compared to other markets?
ST: China and Hong Kong have had their slow-down last year but in the UK we offset any declines in our other markets. In fact, we grew significantly.
PJ: In terms of marketing, what’s the main message Carat* London will be communicating this year?
ST: The main thing is that we are an inclusive jewellery company, rather than exclusive. We aim to democratise fashion-fine jewellery. We make beautiful things that look like they cost thousands of pounds but are in fact very accessible. We are relevant to current trends and we are new all the time.
PJ: Where would you like to see the brand at the end of the year?
ST: By the end of the year we will have opened in the Middle East, we will have further expanded in Korea, Thailand and China, and we will be opening three new shops in the UK. All part of our plan to becoming the most relevant fashion jewellery brand in the UK.